Forum Index > Trip Reports > Hinter Lake - June 8, 2024
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ALW Hiker
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Joined: 27 Jul 2021
Posts: 128 | TRs | Pics
Location: Redmond, WA
ALW Hiker
lakebagger
PostMon Jun 10, 2024 10:04 pm 
I persuaded my hiking buddy OffTrail to join me for what I called a "recon mission" to Hinter Lake from the Miller River Road. As it turned out, we reached the lake and lived to tell the tale. This was thanks in no small part to the excellent lidar data my friend brought along - this allowed us to avoid the multitude of cliffs we encountered along the way, with almost no backtracking. It took us about 8 hours round trip from the road to the lake - 5 hours up and 3 down. There was an additional hour or so of biking time (40 up, 20 down) to ride the 2.5 miles up the road to a point about 1/4 mile beyond Hinter Creek. Note that Hinter Creek crosses the road about 1/4 mile farther down than where it is shown on the USFS topo. From the road, we clocked a bit over 4 miles of distance with about 2700' of elevation gain. I had made an attempt on Hinter Lake last year via the West Fork Foss Lakes Trail, reaching a point only half a mile NE of the lake, on the edge of of a massive 45 degree slab that was too technical to cross. Let me know if you're interested in a description or photos from that route. It was kind of a fun area, even though I didn't reach the lake. This new route from Miller River looked easier on the map, but my low-resolution maps didn't show how cliffy it was, nor did it give a good idea on the brush conditions other than showing one very large brush patch about halfway up. Fortunately, we timed the season about right, as most of the brush had not leafed out yet and the duff gave good traction. The snow was melted off all the steep bits, but still covered up some of the brush near the top and the boulder field around the lake. If I were to visit this lake again, I am sure I would do it via Copper or Little Heart Lake, and the ridge between Benkopp Peak and Turquoise Peak. Very scrambly, but much more Type I fun than what we had on this route. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ The 2.5 mile bike ride is rather pleasant, though both of us had bikes that were far too short!
Almost as soon as we left the road, we got a taste of what was to come. Huge rock outcroppings dot the hillside everywhere, so you've got to work around them. This is where our lidar map came in very handy, because we could see all these features on the map and know which way to go around without going up a dead end. The brush wasn't too bad at the bottom, and was often quite helpful for veggie belay.
Starting up
Starting up
Things to come
Things to come
Typical bottom section - not super steep yet, brush looks worse than it is
Typical bottom section - not super steep yet, brush looks worse than it is
An atypical flat spot, this would make a nice camp!
An atypical flat spot, this would make a nice camp!
More rocks
More rocks
Big cliff (about 50';), we threaded the needle alongside a waterfall to the left
Big cliff (about 50'), we threaded the needle alongside a waterfall to the left
After a brief section of very steep open forest at about 3400', we rounded a corner and reached the top of the large brush patch we had been aiming for. This was the end of our steep climbing and the beginning of a more gradual rising traverse up the valley. Though the brush was still early, and it was thin near the top, this section was a nasty combination of Devil's club, salmonberry, and occasional slide alder. We actually rejoiced when we came across the slide alder, since it gave us something we could safely hang onto!
Typical open forest section
Typical open forest section
Rounding the corner
Rounding the corner
Top of the nasty brush field and our first good view up valley - Malachite Peak in view
Top of the nasty brush field and our first good view up valley - Malachite Peak in view
Thank goodness this isn't leafed out yet
Thank goodness this isn't leafed out yet
Tiptoeing through the Devil's club
Tiptoeing through the Devil's club
Looking down Miller River Valley - burned Mount Baring at the end
Looking down Miller River Valley - burned Mount Baring at the end
Beauty among the devils - false hellebore
Beauty among the devils - false hellebore
Yay for non-thorny brush!
Yay for non-thorny brush!
Nice cliffs on the ridge to the north
Nice cliffs on the ridge to the north
Cascade Mountain North Peak at left, Tumwater Lake is in the bowl to the right of the snowfields
Cascade Mountain North Peak at left, Tumwater Lake is in the bowl to the right of the snowfields
We were getting pretty tired at this point after four hours of climbing, and stopped for lunch at the bottom of a brush-free boulder field. Both of us thought at this point it was fairly unlikely we would reach the lake. However, after lunch we pressed on, climbing a bit through the boulder field before diving into the brush again to stay on our line. If we had more energy, the map showed we could have stayed in the boulders almost all the way to the lake, but it would have involved about 400' of extra elevation gain. More importantly, there was snow on the boulders just above our position, which would have made travel through them dicey if not impossible. This upper brush patch, though in big trees, was the worst on the entire route due to the density of the huckleberry bushes. At least there was no Devil's club or salmonberry.
Boulder field from our lunch spot
Boulder field from our lunch spot
Boulder field and Cascade Mountain North
Boulder field and Cascade Mountain North
Back into the brush we go
Back into the brush we go
We finally reached a decent amount of snow at around 4300' - this sped up travel and buoyed our spirits greatly. In no time, we had reached the saddle above the lake, though at first glance it was hard to see any sign of the water.
Finally, some snow!
Finally, some snow!
Snow travel
Snow travel
Looking north to Purvis Lake, which is just through this notch and to the right
Looking north to Purvis Lake, which is just through this notch and to the right
Approaching the saddle to the west of the lake
Approaching the saddle to the west of the lake
First view into the basin, but where is the lake?
First view into the basin, but where is the lake?
We ditched our packs and headed down to the lake. Enough snow still covered the boulder field that we made it down with only a few thigh-deep posthole incidents. The lake was mostly frozen, but we found a bit of open water on the west side. I dunked my hat in for a refreshing cool down on the climb back out.
Lake basin and point 5812
Lake basin and point 5812
Turquoise Peak and a glimpse of the lake
Turquoise Peak and a glimpse of the lake
Heading down
Heading down
Fingers crossed, don't fall through!
Fingers crossed, don't fall through!
Hinter Lake, looking north
Hinter Lake, looking north
Looking southeast toward point 5812
Looking southeast toward point 5812
All smiles
All smiles
Hinter Lake and Turquoise Peak
Hinter Lake and Turquoise Peak
The way back went a lot faster than we expected. Mostly, we retraced our path via a few key landmarks that we noted on the way up. In the forest section we were also able to follow our footprints in the steep duff, and successfully threaded our way through the myriad of hidden cliffs.
Cliffs to the north, with Baring in the back
Cliffs to the north, with Baring in the back
Back to the boulder field
Back to the boulder field
Diving into the steep part
Diving into the steep part
Back on the road, this is the Hinter Creek crossing
Back on the road, this is the Hinter Creek crossing
Here are a couple maps of our route - the dashed line was our initial plan.
Lidar version - very helpful
Lidar version - very helpful
Satellite overlay
Satellite overlay

fourteen410, Hiker Mama, jaysway, JimK, rubywrangler, Now I Fly, Waterman, John Mac, RichP, zimmertr
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contour5
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contour5
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PostMon Jun 10, 2024 10:48 pm 
Cool TR, thanks for posting!

ALW Hiker
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Now I Fly
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Now I Fly
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PostTue Jun 11, 2024 7:51 am 
Great report! Looks like fun! I'm already dreading the thought of wet brush, and hidden bees nest, but it looks like the season is nearly upon us.

ALW Hiker
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lopper
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Joined: 22 Jan 2002
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lopper
off-route
PostTue Jun 11, 2024 12:28 pm 
Such a thorough and detailed report. Thanks! Purvis and Hinter: no easy way.

ALW Hiker
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OffTrail
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OffTrail
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PostTue Jun 11, 2024 4:02 pm 
ALW Hiker had me at "recon mission". I think we were fortunate enough that the seasonal timing was perfect; brush wasn't leafed out (but all the thorns were there) and there was enough snow on the final segment to make the trek through the brush under the timber manageable. Later in the season I think the preferred route on the upper segment would be to sacrifice climbing an additional 400 feet of elevation to stay on the talus most of the way to the lake. All around a fun day to grab a lake that is rarely visited. For lopper; Purvis is relatively easy via Rock and Panorama. It's just a "long" day hike.

ALW Hiker, Bootpathguy
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lopper
off-route



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lopper
off-route
PostTue Jun 11, 2024 5:21 pm 
Rock - Panorama - Purvis. Long but worth it. For a shorter option......... a springtime snowshoe up from the EFK Miller Road. ( 2pics ) It is a route that cried out from the USGS map. The snow-cover saved us from the brush.

RichP, ALW Hiker, Bootpathguy
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OffTrail
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OffTrail
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PostTue Jun 11, 2024 5:45 pm 
Yes, Purvis is definitely worth the effort. Good thing your route from EFK Miller to Purvis had snow on it, because that brush field looks worse (longer) than the one going to Dream Lake. And it doesn't appear to have the option to walk the creek during late summer low flow like Dream Lake does.

ALW Hiker
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ALW Hiker
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Joined: 27 Jul 2021
Posts: 128 | TRs | Pics
Location: Redmond, WA
ALW Hiker
lakebagger
PostThu Jun 13, 2024 5:42 pm 
lopper wrote:
For a shorter option......... a springtime snowshoe up from the EFK Miller Road. ( 2pics ) It is a route that cried out from the USGS map. The snow-cover saved us from the brush.
Thanks for the pics! That looks like a really nice snowshoe route.

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